Figures published today reveal beekeepers in the U.S. lost an estimated 48% of their honey bee colonies in 2022-23.
As Statista's Martin Armstrong reports, according to an annual survey that tracks the state of managed hives, this is the second highest death rate on record after 2020-21's 51%.
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Honey bees are crucial to our food supply, pollinating over 100 different crop types.
As reported by Bee Informed, a national collaboration of leading research labs and universities in agricultural science, the most prominent cause of colony death reported by commercial beekeepers over the year was “varroa destructor” - a parasitic mite that attacks and feeds on honey bees.
In the summer, 'Queen issues' were the second most common reason cited, followed by 'adverse weather'.
According to the publication, "although the total number of honey bee colonies in the country has remained relatively stable over the last 20 years (~2.6 million colonies according to the USDA NASS Honey Reports), loss rates remain high".
This puts beekeepers under "substantial pressure" to create new colonies each year.